Best Salt for Reef Tank

Best Salt for Reef Tank and Full Buying Guide on How to Choose The Right One

Choosing the best salt for the reef tank requires quite a bit of research to determine the right salt mixture for your coral. It is important to note that every reef tank needs a different kind of salt mixture to achieve ideal parameters.

Salt is also an essential part of the reef tank maintenance just because salt can affect your coral’s health and its ability to grow and become strong.

There are different salt combinations for your reef tank, and finding the best salt is crucial for creating a healthy environment for all creatures. Reef ecosystems are exceptionally delicate, and minor water changes can have enormous implications for their health.

Even though your salt is determined by the type of creatures you decide to keep, we are still going to review some of the best-selling salts and determine which is the best one.

Product Name

​Best For



​Instant Ocean Sea Salt for Marine Aquariums

​Fish Only Tanks


Instant Ocean Reef Crystals Reef Salt

​Mixed Reef Tanks


Brightwell Aquatics ABANMAR150 Neomarine Marine Salt

​​SPS Tanks


Fritz Aquatics 80280 Reef Pro Mix Complete Marine Salt

​LPS and Mixed Reef Tanks


Tropic Marin ATM10581 Pro Reef-Bucket

​SPS Tanks


Red Sea Fish Pharm ARE11230 Coral Pro Marine Salt

​SPS Tanks


Omega Sea Premium Reef Salt

​LPS Tanks


Product Review

1. Instant Ocean Sea Salt for Marine Aquariums – Best Salt for Reef Tank

There is no better way of bringing the ocean to your home than using the salt from the Instant Ocean. It is one of the best products on the market and the number one choice for reef owners. There is a good reason for that.

This salt is scientifically formulated just to bing the best specifications they possibly can. Instant Ocean Sea salt has achieved an excellent reputation for quality over the last years. Also, their products are consistent all the time and come at a great value.

The salt dissolves quickly in the water, which means that you don’t need to wait long before you start enriching your reef tank with creatures. Although it is still necessary that you aerate the water to make the right equilibrium between oxygen and carbon dioxide.

To prepare your reef aquarium for adding your saltwater creatures, you will need to mix this product with tap or purified water. All you need to do put ½ cup of this salt mixed in one gallon of water.

Instant Ocean is an excellent quality salt, and probably the best choice for your reef tank.

2. Instant Ocean Reef Crystals Reef Salt

As we mentioned before, the Instant Ocean is one of the best aquarium salt manufacturers just because all of their products come in high-quality, and one is no exception. It contains higher levels of calcium to promote stony coral, and coralline algae grow.

It also contains other elements that are packed with nutrients and vitamins so that you can create the perfect reef environments. The best thing is that even though we are talking about the highest-quality, it still comes at an affordable price and dissolves quickly.

You can either put it in purified water or tap water, but we do recommend that you go for the purified water option to neutralize any trace heavy metals. This will be also safer for your reef tank creatures.

3. Brightwell Aquatics ABANMAR150 Neomarine Marine Salt

Brightwell Aquatics ABANMAR150 Neomarine Marine Salt

Brightwell Aquatics came up with this product after years of research and testing. They’ve designed it to meet biology and chemistry requirements in your reef tank. Basically, it is formulated to replicate the seawater rations for each element. Just because it reproduces all trace and minor details, it makes it perfect for your marine wildlife.

This is an excellent product if you have issues controlling your magnesium levels, pH issues, or an ultra-low nutrient system. It provides an outstanding balance of nutrients, and it dissolves in the water very quickly.

Since it is very close to the seawater in comparison, your inhabitants wouldn’t recognize the difference. Many salts use emulators to boost the water quality or seawater evaporate, which is not the case with this product. In fact, all the vitamins and minerals are not man-made.

By now, you probably get the idea of what type of company we are talking about. They are very legitimate, and you cannot even find their product outsourced to anyone else to keep high-quality standards.

4. Fritz Aquatics 80280 Reef Pro Mix Complete Marine Salt

Fritz Aquatics 80280 Reef Pro Mix Complete Marine Salt

This is another high-quality sea salt blend that contains all essential minor and trace elements needed for creating a healthy marine environment. They use only top quality raw materials and combined by marine scientists to replicate all the elements from the natural seawater.

RPM also contains the correct pH and buffering capacity by adding essential elements to make sure you have the perfect environment for your aquarium inhabitants. This means that you can start adding your marine wildlife very soon after you put in the salt. It is ammonia, nitrate, and phosphate-free.

Fritz’s Marine Salt is a trendy brand with a high reputation. Most of the professionals use this product as their primary source of salt for aquariums.

5. Tropic Marin ATM10581 Pro Reef-Bucket

Tropic MArin

This product is made with pharmaceutical-grade, 100% biodegradable salts, with no added toxins, fillers or synthetic additives. It is designed for the unique needs of reef aquariums, with an optimized concentration of calcium and magnesium. Both of these elements are there to promote coral growth with time.

By using Tropic Marin, you will be able to quickly stabilize natural water values with low buffering and right pH values. People often don’t know that they can’t have a stable and natural condition for delicate marine creatures without it. You must be able to balance all the factors that can affect your marine life to create a stable environment.

This salt is designed for modern reefs needs. It is a great foundation for taking care of your marine life such as corals, fish, and other inhabitants seen in modern reef aquariums.

It can be used with a wide variety of corals such as LPS, soft, and SPS. The good thing is that the pH levels won’t change dramatically when it is mixed in the water. It also dissolves quickly in the water, making it perfect for starting your reef tank as soon as possible.

Tropic Marin is perfect for starting your reef aquarium or stabilizing your current one.

6. Red Sea Fish Pharm ARE11230 Coral Pro Marine Salt

Red Sea Fish Pharm ARE11230 Coral Pro Marine Salt

If you are starting your reef tank, it is essential to know that all corals build their skeletons by absorbing the minor, major, and trace elements from the surrounding water. This product designed explicitly with coral growth in mind since it is full of these elements. Also, the ratio between calcium, carbonates, and magnesium is essential for the coral.

This is one of the best salts on the market, and it has been harvested straight from the Red Sea. It has the perfect balance between magnesium, calcium, and strontium as regular salt, and also over 7- trace elements. It is important to note that the Red Sea Fish Pharm contains no phosphates, chemical binders, or nitrates.

This product went through a lot of researching and testing to get to this state.

Once you introduce this type of salt to your reef tank, it will provide accelerated and healthy growth for all soft, LPS, and SPS corals. It is probably the best reef salt for SPS coral frags. It is also suitable for a fish-only environment.

If you want to enhance your coral growth and create the perfect environment for your saltwater inhabitants, this is the product to go for.

7. Omega Sea Premium Reef Salt

Omega Sea Reef Salt

This is another premium salt that is deeply researched and formulated just to create the perfect environment for your marine life. Omega Sea premium reef salt is a unique and revolutionary mixture made with raw materials and little water. It includes invertebrates, corals, and fish. It is the best reef salt for LPS.

Just because it is designed to stay dry before using it, it dissolves in the water faster, as well as produces around 20 percent more seawater than any other ordinary salt. Just like the other premium salts that we reviewed, it does not include any nitrates, phosphates, or other chemicals.

If you are concerned about your coral growth, you should go for this product as it contains all of the 70 trace elements. Additionally, they are in the exact proportions as you would find them in tropical seawater.

As we mentioned, this product contains a unique buffering system just to make sure the pH level is correct. Also, Omega sea premium reef salt is designed in a way to stabilize natural water and turned into seawater.

It contains slightly higher levels of calcium and magnesium than other salt products, as well as enhanced alkalinity and does not add extra bromide.

Buying Guide

Since we are dealing with slightly delicate creatures, you must know what salt to choose for different types of inhabitants. There are a few key things that you should be looking for to select the best reef salt for the perfect environment.

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Three Most Important Things

There are three most essential components that you should be looking for when you are choosing your salt mix, and they are calcium, magnesium, and alkalinity.

By adding salt to the water in your tank, you are enriching it with less abundant chemicals that can be found in natural seawater. Even though seawater is known for its salt, it contains many different elements that cannot be replicated by adding sodium chloride – standard table salt.

Calcium: Corals and invertebrates use calcium to build their stony skeletons. You should be aiming for 400ppm (parts per million) calcium concentration to provide a healthy environment.

Alkalinity: This is related to the amount of bicarbonate in your water, and it is essential just because natural seawater has a pH greater than 7. Without alkalinity in the form of bicarbonate, your tank water will turn acidic enough to dissolve skeletons of corals and poison your fish. Alkalinity has a recommended range of 8-11 dKH.

Magnesium: Magnesium is a trace mineral that can be found in natural seawater. This means that it is located at extremely low abundances relative to chemicals like chlorine or sodium. Magnesium is used for keeping alkalinity balanced. In other words, in interacts with bicarbonate to prevent it from precipitation as calcium carbonate.

Magnesium also has a recommended range of 1250-1400 ppm.

Reef Salt vs Marine Salt

When we compare reef salt vs marine salt, you can find that reef salt has more profound levels of elevation in the process of making. It contains higher calcium, magnesium concentration, and iodide than the marine salt.

Both have some similarities, and they will work fine for your saltwater inhabitants, you just have to choose which one is better for you.

Cost per gallon

To choose the best reef salt, you need to keep the price in mind. Just because different products have different levels of necessary elements, you cannot look at the cost of the product.

If you want to choose the best salt for your money, you need to look at the cost per gallon. This is very simple to calculate as any standard box of salt is for 150 to 200 gallons of water. You can simply divide the number of gallons per bucket to the price of the product.

For example, $50 can make 150 gallons of saltwater. When you divide 50 by 150, it gives you a total cost of $0.33 per gallon.

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What’s living in your aquarium?

Determining what type of creatures you are going to have in your tank will impact your decision when choosing your salt.

Even though reef salts mixes are very similar to one another, they are still developed with different levels of calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium. Some reef sand mixtures have higher concentrations of salt and others higher or lower on magnesium.

Every inhabitant in your aquarium requires different water mixture to provide a healthy environment. For example, if you choose to go for hard corals, you are going to need a salt mix with higher levels of trace elements and vitamins. And on the other hand, if you go for soft corals or fish only tank, the extra levels are not necessary.

There is a good reason for this. Hard corals are always precipitating a calcium carbonate skeleton. This means that they such out both alkalinity and calcium from your tank’s water.

If you go for the fish only tank, the balance of alkalinity is much more critical than the concentrations of magnesium in calcium, since fish don’t need that much calcium to grow.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Sea Salt the Same with Aquarium Salt?

Aquarium salt is a typical pure salt (sodium chloride). The preparation process for aquarium salt is much easier than sea salt since it is only evaporated seawater. It does not contain artificial additives, color, sugar, or high levels of vital nutrients for saltwater inhabitants. It is used for blocking the toxic effects of nitrate to freshwater fish, improves fish breathing, and reduces stress.

On the other hand, sea salt contains a more complex and more significant number of additional elements such as calcium, potassium, sulfates, hydrogen carbonate, bromine, etc. This is going to help make the aquarium water similar to the sea, and create the perfect environment for your marine invertebrates.

They are both very different types of salt, used for various purposes.

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How much salt do I put in my saltwater tank?

Many beginners struggle with optimizing the levels of salt in the aquarium. The truth is, the salt needed might vary from brand to another due to the chemistry of the product. However, in most cases, it will be 35g of salt per liter of RO water.

You can always check the label for the instructions from the manufacturer.

How do you make a saltwater fish tank?

There are a few steps before you can create your saltwater fish tank.

 – Buy your sea salt mix

Depending on the type of creatures, and the nutrient specifications you want to go, you should choose your sea salt mix.

 – Decide your water source

The water source that you will use in your aquarium is also essential. Using tap water is only useful if you use the fish only tank. If you are going for a reef tank, you should use deionized water (RO)

 – ​Mix the water with salt

You should then rinse the container to ensure you have nothing to contaminate your saltwater. Then fill the box with RO/DI or tap water. Place a thermometer to ensure you have the perfect temperature of 72-80 degrees Fahrenheit for fish-only tanks, and 75-78 degrees Fahrenheit for a reef tank. After the temperature check, you can add your seawater mixture slowly and stir it.

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What is the Best Reef Salt to Use?

If you want to choose the best reef salt for your aquarium, you should go for Instant Ocean Reef Crystal Reef salt. This product is perfect for having quality ingredients for creating a perfectly balanced marine life with great quality and value for money.

This product comes from a top brand and one of the highest-rated products on the market. It provides a perfect balance of calcium, magnesium, and alkalinity for your reef tank. Coralline algae development won’t be a problem if you are using this product.

The manufacturer also included trace elements to ensure the stable growth of the corals, and heavy metals found in the domestic water supply will be removed with metal detoxifiers.

What is the Best Reef Salt Mix?

The best reef salt mix is a popular question on many forums nowadays. Many people give their personal opinion on which is the best reef salt mix for your aquarium, but finding the best one requires you to know certain things.

The first thing you need to keep in mind is the difference between brands. The composition of the salt mix is going to be on the label, and it varies from brand to brand.

If you want to choose the best reef salt mixture, you need to keep in mind a few elements. Comparing parameters such as the amount of magnesium, calcium, and alkalinity will give you the answer.

Calcium is the most crucial element in a reef tank since it is necessary for a healthy environment for corals. Good reef salt mix will contain 400ppm (price per million).

Calcium will help balance the alkalinity of the water, and you should look for a product with 1250ppm.

Last but not least, alkalinity is going to affect the pH levels of the reef tank. It needs to be from 8-11 dkh.

Comparing these elements will tell you which are the best saltwater mix for a reef tank.

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How to Mix Reef Salt?

The first thing you need to do is buy the best reef salt mixture that you can find on the market.

Next, you need to gather all the necessary supplies for your tank. Choosing the water source is very important, so always try to use deionized water for this process.

Fill the container with deionized water and add the salt in the amount that is described on the label. Mix the saltwater and let it settle overnight.


These are some of the best reef salt available on the market. There are a lot of things to look out for to maintain a healthy environment.

When it comes to the products, Instant Ocean Sea Salt for Marine Aquariums is perfect just because it is from a reliable brand, has high-quality components, and it is affordable.

By following this guide, you will be able to create the perfect reef environment for your creatures.


  • William Rieder

    Hi, my name is William Rieder and I'm a pet and animal blogger. I love reviewing all things pet related, from dogs to cats to horses! I also write about other topics such as personal finance and relationships. I enjoy helping people find the perfect pet for their lifestyle and am always interested in hearing what they have to say about their pets.

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